Saturday, January 29, 2011

365 Jobs, Day 29: Stove Shock

Cross-posted from my new blog, 365 Jobs:

Tuesday, January 29, 1991

Don is the ultimate yuppie bachelor:  a Mercedes for formal occasions, a $50,000 BMW for a beater car, a hilltop million dollar view of the Silicon Valley, a home sound system that can make your navel bleed, a decorator for half his house and bachelor squalor for the other half (where he spends all his time).  He made a killing on something - he doesn't talk about it - and retired at age 23.  A likable, handsome man, he must be all of 28 by now.  The consensus among women seems to be that Don is in need of a wife.  Whenever I work there, pleasant ladies are constantly leaving messages on his answering machine or appearing at his door "just to drop something off." 

There are no books in the entire house except for one shelf, stocked by the decorator, of old leather volumes of various sizes, shapes, and smells.  Don has a childish laugh and a basement full of arcade games from pinball to Pac-Man.

I've installed elegant fixtures in the decorator half of his house.  Today he needs me for the squalid half.  A "lady guest" got a shock touching the stove.

"Have you ever gotten a shock, Don?"

"I've never used it."

He's lived there for 5 years.

I check the stove.  No problem found.  Probably it was static electricity she picked up by walking on the deep carpets in the plush half of the house.  In the kitchen, there are plastic chairs from K-Mart.

The bill: $108.  Don cheerfully pays.  The phone is ringing; Don doesn't pick up.  He follows me out to the driveway, saying he has a squash match at the club.

"And then lunch?" I ask.

"Shower.  Lunch.  Massage.  You know."  He shrugs.

Inside the house, once again the phone is ringing.

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